Always in search for new adventures and ways to get out of my comfort zone, photographing people is where I finally found my passion. I think my choices after high school say something about me and my approach to life, so I'd like to give you a re-cap of my journey to become a photographer.
After graduating in Sweden in 2008, I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life. A friend asked if I wanted to move to Fårö with her. Well, sure, why not? We spent the whole summer sharing bed in a little picturesque barn. Every day I would bike 30 km across the Bergman landscapes to get to my job in a restaurant kitchen. As a first step away from my childhood home and ultimately the beginning of my independency, this will always be a magical place for me.
Building an appetite for traveling, I decided to find a way to go to my one of my favourite countries—the United States. It was the perfect adventure for a young Swedish girl who had never been outside the European borders. A couple months later, I moved to a family in Minneapolis, whose two lovely daughters I took care of for thirteen months. We spent Christmas in their house in France and summer break on the English coast. When I had days off work, I went to college or explored the rest of what the country had to offer. This is where I grew a love for eccentric people and cheese curds.
When I came home from America, my then-boyfriend had moved to Norway. I decided to follow him. We lived in a cellar in the middle of the forest, outside a village of 4 000 people. The snow was apparent for my first six months in the country and it wasn’t unusual for the temperature to drop to -30°C. I would often come to my hotel job with frozen eyelashes and eyebrows after trying to bike 7 km through deep snow. We couldn’t afford a car and would use a sledge to transport food from the village to our house. I’m not sure if it was the calmness of the countryside that helped me or lack of things to do outside of work, but I got a lot of thinking done in this country. Thinking that led me to understand how strong my passion for photography is, and finally start my business.
I knew what I wanted to do, now I just needed the money to do it. I quit my job and decided to go to Iceland. I found a new job—at a slaughterhouse. Once again, I was definitely getting out of my comfort zone, but it felt easier as soon as I got to know my co-workers and started being pretty skilled at my tasks. What made this trip unforgettable was when, after several hours of overtime, we would drive to the hot pools outside our village. We changed into our bathing suits, ran through the snow and finally reached the burning water. As we sank our bodies down, we watched the sun go down over the horizon. When the sun was gone, it would be replaced by northern lights, appearing in green zig-zag patterns above us. Those moments were well worth all the hard work.
Working hard and saving as much as I could, I soon had the money I needed to try my wings as a freelancing photographer. This was going to be my biggest journey yet. I bought a one-way ticket and flew to New Zealand. Not only did I get to enjoy sun and summer for the first time in years, but my dreams were pursued and my expectations exceeded. After six months in Auckland, I was working full time. I shot weddings and events and in my spare time I still had the time to do personal projects. For every shoot I did, I thought I had reached my peak. It just can’t get anymore exciting than this, can it? The people I met, the events I attended, and for the first time in my life—getting paid for what I love doing. All the hard work had finally paid off.
Leaving New Zealand, my job and the network I'd created, was incredibly hard. But I knew that it was time to go home to Europe, to find a place to settle down and niche my photography. Which brings us to today.
In 2013, I moved to London. In a sense, I had to start all over, but with the important difference that I now knew my goals were tangible. It took me a while to get used to the city, but four years in, I feel like I’ve find my first ’home’ since I was a kid. I live with a bunch of awesome people in Hackney, travel between England and Sweden (and sometimes other European countries) for weddings, and I’m equally stunned and humbled by how many amazing people I get to meet through my job. I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Nine years and six countries later, I strongly feel that the core is exactly the same in this 27-year-old woman as it was in that 18-year-old girl who sat down and planned her first summer away from home. The journey from a teenager playing with her first DSLR, to a world-travelling photographer, has only strengthened my motivation to work hard and to create even better results.
Adventures. People. Challenges. That’s what makes me move.